599 F.3d 1093 (9th Cir. 2010), 09-15483, National Meat Ass'n v. Brown

Docket Nº:09-15483, 09-15486.
Citation:599 F.3d 1093
Opinion Judge:KOZINSKI, Chief Judge:
Party Name:NATIONAL MEAT ASSOCIATION, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Edmund G. BROWN, in his official capacity as Attorney General of California; Arnold Schwarzenegger, in his official capacity as Governor of California; State of California, Defendants-Appellants, and American Meat Institute, Plaintiff-intervenor, and The Humane Society of the United States; Farm San
Attorney:Edmund G. Brown Jr., Attorney General of California, Douglas J. Woods, Acting Senior Assistant Attorney General, and Susan K. Leach, Deputy Attorney General, Los Angeles, CA, for the defendants-appellants. Sarah L. Conant and Peter A. Brandt, The Humane Society of the United States, Washington, D...
Judge Panel:Before: ALEX KOZINSKI, Chief Judge, STEPHEN REINHARDT and BARRY G. SILVERMAN, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:March 31, 2010
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
 
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599 F.3d 1093 (9th Cir. 2010)

NATIONAL MEAT ASSOCIATION, Plaintiff-Appellee,

and

American Meat Institute, Plaintiff-intervenor,

v.

Edmund G. BROWN, in his official capacity as Attorney General of California; Arnold Schwarzenegger, in his official capacity as Governor of California; State of California, Defendants-Appellants,

and

The Humane Society of the United States; Farm Sanctuary, Inc.; Humane Farming Association; Animal Legal Defense Fund, Defendant-intervenors.

National Meat Association, Plaintiff-Appellee,

and

American Meat Institute, Plaintiff-intervenor,

v.

Edmund G. Brown, in his official capacity as Attorney General of California; Arnold Schwarzenegger, in his official capacity as Governor of California; State of California, Defendants,

and

The Humane Society of the United States; Farm Sanctuary, Inc.; Humane Farming Association; Animal Legal Defense Fund, Defendant-intervenors-Appellants.

Nos. 09-15483, 09-15486.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

March 31, 2010

Argued and Submitted Aug. 11, 2009.

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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Edmund G. Brown Jr., Attorney General of California, Douglas J. Woods, Acting Senior Assistant Attorney General, and

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Susan K. Leach, Deputy Attorney General, Los Angeles, CA, for the defendants-appellants.

Sarah L. Conant and Peter A. Brandt, The Humane Society of the United States, Washington, D.C.; and Bruce A. Wagman, Schiff Hardin LLP, San Francisco, CA, for the defendant-intervenor-appellants.

Steven J. Wells and Heather M. McCann, Dorsey & Whitney LLP, Minneapolis, MN, for the plaintiff-appellee.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, Lawrence J. O'Neill, District Judge, Presiding D.C. No. 1:08-cv-01963-LJO-DLB.

Before: ALEX KOZINSKI, Chief Judge, STEPHEN REINHARDT and BARRY G. SILVERMAN, Circuit Judges.

KOZINSKI, Chief Judge:

This is an interlocutory appeal from a preliminary injunction prohibiting the enforcement of California Penal Code § 599f, which bans the slaughter and inhumane handling of nonambulatory animals, against federally regulated swine slaughterhouses.

I

On January 30, 2008, The Humane Society released a video depicting images of nonambulatory cows-cows that are unable to stand or walk without assistance-being kicked, electrocuted, dragged with chains and rammed with forklifts at California's Westland/Hallmark slaughterhouse. Footage also showed some workers trying to get nonambulatory cows to stand by spraying pressurized water into their noses to simulate drowning. Public health professionals warned that meat from these " downer" cows was more likely to be diseased, partly because animals can become nonambulatory due to disease and partly because downer animals grow sicker as they end up rolling around in other animals' refuse. The video triggered the largest beef recall in United States history.

California responded by amending California Penal Code § 599f to provide that:

(a) No slaughterhouse, stockyard, auction, market agency, or dealer shall buy, sell, or receive a nonambulatory animal.

(b) No slaughterhouse shall process, butcher, or sell meat or products of nonambulatory animals for human consumption.

(c) No slaughterhouse shall hold a nonambulatory animal without taking immediate action to humanely euthanize the animal.

....

(e) While in transit or on the premises of a stock-yard, auction, market agency, dealer, or slaughter-house, a nonambulatory animal may not be dragged at any time, or pushed with equipment at any time, but shall be moved with a sling or on a stoneboat or other sled-like or wheeled conveyance.

Cal. Pen. Code § 599f. Together these provisions: (1) ban the receipt and slaughter of downer animals, id. § 599f(a)-(c); and (2) require the humane handling of downer animals, id. § 599f(e).

Shortly before amended section 599f was to take effect, National Meat Association (NMA)-a trade association representing packers and processors of swine livestock and pork products-filed suit in federal district court against the State of California seeking declaratory and injunctive relief barring the application of section 599f to federally inspected swine slaughterhouses. 1 Some of its members claimed that

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section 599f would prevent the slaughter of approximately 2.5% of their pigs. NMA argued that section 599f is preempted by the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA), violates the dormant commerce clause and is unconstitutionally vague. The district court entered a preliminary injunction on preemption grounds; 2 the State of California and defendant-intervenors The Humane Society, et al., who supported the bill amending section 599f, bring this interlocutory appeal.

II

We review for abuse of discretion and will reverse if the district court's decision is based on an erroneous legal standard or clearly erroneous finding of fact. Stormans, Inc. v. Selecky, 586 F.3d 1109, 1119 (9th Cir.2009). Preemption is a legal issue we review de novo. Am. Trucking Ass'ns v. City of L.A., 559 F.3d 1046, 1052 (9th Cir.2009). Someone seeking a preliminary injunction must demonstrate " that he is likely to succeed on the merits, that he is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief, that the balance of equities tips in his favor, and that an injunction is in the public interest." Winter v. Natural Res. Def. Council, Inc., __ U.S. __, 129 S.Ct. 365, 374, 172 L.Ed.2d 249 (2008).3

Receipt and Slaughter Ban

Congress, as well as federal agencies, may expressly or impliedly preempt state law. Barrientos v. 1801-1825 Morton LLC, 583 F.3d 1197, 1208 (9th Cir.2009). There is express preemption where federal law explicitly preempts state law. Altria Group, Inc. v. Good, __ U.S. __, 129 S.Ct. 538, 543, 172 L.Ed.2d 398 (2008). There is implied preemption where federal law was intended to occupy the legislative field or where state law conflicts with federal law, either because it's impossible to comply with both laws or because state law stands as an obstacle to accomplishing the purposes of federal law. See id.; English v. Gen. Elec. Co., 496 U.S. 72, 79, 110 S.Ct. 2270, 110 L.Ed.2d 65 (1990). In either case, there's a strong presumption against preemption, especially when the state law deals with matters like health and animal welfare, which have historically...

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